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Jazz Week in full swing

Illustration by Cody Angell

By Graig Uhlin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday Mar. 4, 2002

The UA School of Music and Dance kicked off its annual Arizona Jazz Week yesterday with a performance by its vocal jazz ensembles.

The weeklong series of events, which has been a University of Arizona tradition for more than 15 years, features performances by students and music faculty as a means to show off the talent of the jazz program.

"It's a showcase for the student talent - both the bands and the vocalists," said assistant jazz professor Jim Taylor. Taylor will accompany his fellow faculty members - Jeffrey Haskell, Tom Ervin, Kelland Thomas, Jay Rees and Robin Horn - in a faculty concert today.

"It's always fun for (the faculty) to get together and play," Taylor said. "Since we are busy teaching, we lose the chance to play with one another."

Taylor added that the faculty performances allow their students to watch them work outside of a classroom setting. He also said each faculty member brings something different to the performance.

Arizona Jazz Week Events
Today, 7:30 p.m.
Faculty Concert
Admission: $10 general, $4 students

Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
Jazz One with nUAnce, vocal jazz
Admission: $8 general, $4 students

Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Jazz Two with Jazztet
Guests Tom Ervin and Kelland Thomas
Admission: Free

All performances to be held at Crowder Hall in the Fine Arts Complex.

AZ Jazz Week has traditionally been well attended by both the community and the students, Taylor said. These events contribute further to the growing popularity of jazz performances on campus - the Wednesday concerts at the Park Student Union, sponsored by the University Activities Board, stand as another example.

"The overall awareness of jazz is fairly high for a university campus," Taylor said.

Part of this awareness stems from the strength of the jazz program in the School of Music and Dance, which, Taylor said, the faculty would rank among the top in the nation.

He cited personal contact with professors and substantial playing time both inside and outside the classroom for the students as reasons behind the program's acclaimed status. Further, he added that the popularity of individual classes - the jazz history class for example - contributes to a greater attendance at performances like those of Jazz Week.

"Once they've experienced (the class), they're more open to going to the performances," Taylor said.

Thanks to sponsorships, performances by faculty and students have not been curtailed because of the recent budget cuts, Taylor said.

"We haven't cut back on our performance schedule," he said.

The department also has not cut back on trips for student ensembles. The jazz ensembles will soon be traveling to Mexico for a series of performances. AZ Jazz Week is acting as kickoff for that tour, Taylor said.

Despite all the concerts that the jazz program will perform this semester, Jazz Week stands out as an exciting time for the students.

"I think it's the energy of the whole week - you know, group after group after group," Taylor said.


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